In an interview with Xconomy, Mussie Shore, one of the developers behind Google Friend Connect, says that ‘8 million communities have formed with Friend Connect’. What do those communities consist of? The same widget which shows up in the sidebar of this site. The number is massive considering that Facebook Connect is now on ‘tens of thousands’ of websites. I’ve written about the service extensively since it first launched and as of now, it’s being hailed as a great success.
Friend Connect Powers The Long Tail
It’s an amazing number: 8 million communities. However what does that mean and how does that compare to the thousands of communities powered by Facebook Connect? For the most part, it simply means that Friend Connect communities are much smaller than their Facebook counterparts. That also means that there’s a greater likelihood that the communities could simply shift to other platforms, such as Facebook.
Why would a community with 50 members have any real concern about shifting to a new platform that provides more functionality or simply looks better? My guess is that they wouldn’t which is why Facebook still has a long way to go on the social front. The greatest issue that the company has is developing an accurate image of the global social graph, something that Facebook has been extremely effective at accomplishing.
Can Google Take On Facebook?
The bigger issue at hand is Google’s attempt to develop social services that compete with Facebook. As Eric Schmidt recently noted at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Orlando, learning how to rank socially relevant data ‘is the great challenge of the age.’ In order to make that information more relevant, Google will be forced to organize all the social information they have access to.
The only problem is that Google’s social data is split among multiple products, the primary two being: Google Profiles and Orkut (which I haven’t used since I was 20). None of the services have anything close to an accurate image of my social graph. The easiest way for Google to get access to that data would be to implement Facebook Connect, however that would be somewhat of an admission of defeat.
For now the company has a great start with over 8 million Friend Connect communities and a solid profiles product. Google has a long way to go if they’re going to get access to all of our social information though.
(Via The Social Times.)